Zambia edge Zimbabwe to reach COSAFA Women’s final amid sexual harassment scandal


Zambia secured a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe in the semifinals of the 2023 HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria on Friday, advancing to the final of the regional tournament.

]Zimbabwe Mighty Warriors defeated by Zambia in COSAFA Women's semifinal in South Africa
The Mighty Warriors fell to the Copper Queens as Shadreck Mlauzi is mired in a sexual harassment storm [Image:]

The match was also historic as it featured the use of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time in a COSAFA event.

However, the game was overshadowed by a sexual harassment scandal involving Zimbabwe coach Shadreck Mlauzi, who was accused of sexually abusing a female member of his technical team and some players.

Mlauzi was not on the bench and watched the game from the stands, while assistant coaches Yohane Chikaola and Sithethelelwe Sibanda took charge of the team.

The Mighty Warriors started brightly and created some early chances, but failed to convert them. The Copper Queens grew into the game and dominated possession, threatening the Zimbabwean goal with Evarine Katongo and Sarah Jere’s efforts.

The deadlock was broken In the 51st minute when Jere scored a brilliant solo goal, dribbling past two defenders and slotting the ball past goalkeeper Cynthia Shonga.

Zambia almost doubled their lead with two close calls from Susan Banda and a free-kick, but were denied by the post and Shonga respectively.

Zimbabwe struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities in the second half, with only Maud Mafuruse testing the Zambian keeper with a long-range shot.

The game ended with Zambia celebrating their place in the final, where they will face either South Africa or Botswana.

Meanwhile, ZIFA interim chairperson Lincoln Mutasa issued a statement saying that the association had sent a qualified Safeguarding Officer to investigate the allegations against Mlauzi and was taking the matter seriously.

He urged the public not to make unfounded pronouncements that could hamper the investigations, stressing that ZIFA condemned all forms of misconduct and would punish anyone found guilty.

Mlauzi remains coach as the investigations are ongoing, which has riled some sections who want him to step aside until the matter is resolved.

The allegations have overshadowed the team’s impressive performance at the 2023 HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship in South Africa, which ended in a semifinal loss to the defending champions.

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